Sony HX5 - comparing video resolutions part II

2010-8-13 18.18
You find the first comparison between the 4 HD video modes at Sony HX5 - Video.

For this test I downloaded this and this test cart picture. I put the HX5 on a tripod and tried to get all of the full HD TV screen onto the HX5 display. WD TV was used to display the test cart pictures on the TV.

To compare full HD with the lower resolutions all non full HD screen grabs are resized to 1920 x 1080. Then a center crop of 640 x 640 is taken for fast and easy comparison.

1280 x 720 MP4

1440 x 1080 MP4

1440 x 1080 AVCHD

1920 x 1080 AVCHD

1280 x 720 MP4

1440 x 1080 MP4

1440 x 1080 AVCHD

1920 x 1080 AVCHD

I made this second test since it is nearly impossible for me to see the benefits of the higher resolutions in my day to day video clips.
I had a couple comments on my first post:

I use avchd all the time because when I connect it directly to my HDTV, the smoothness of the video is unreal. It's like watching 24p blueray on a Plasma.

This is a test of a static image. It has nothing to do with real world video which contains movement. AVCHD is simply much better with less compression artifacts.
The funny thing is, when I check the 4 formats with MediaInfo then they all 4 appear to be the same H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC codec, just the AVCHD are in blueray containers use the High@L4.0 profile with the AC-3 audio codec @ 256 Kbps while the MP4 are in a MPEG-4 container use the Main@L4.0 profile with the AAC audio codec @128 Kbps.
The microphones from the HX5 are not so good that you would benefit from the 256 Kbps and the couple more switches the High profile uses do not show for me on the 15", 42" or 120" screens as a visible better result.
Your ears and eyes might experience that different, so you have to test yourself to be on the safe side

Sadly the HX5 is not tested by the guys from camcorderinfo.com but they did the NEX-5 and this is as close as it gets for right now.

When you compare other cameras with 1080 (NEX-5) and 720 resolution you see there is not the double amount of information or that much more resolution what is really captured.

The NEX-5 is in par with the Canon 5D Mark II 700 line widths per picture height (lw/ph) horizontal and 650 lw/ph vertical.
And this is nearly the top of consumer camcorders.

Remembering an article from camcorderinfo.com they state:

Video Sharpness

Actual video sharpness is never the same number that manufacturers advertise. Cameras recording at "1920 x 1080" do not actually capture one thousand nine-hundred and twenty horizontal lines of information. That number is just the size of the "container" that the camera outputs (also known as the resolution).

I think the HX5 might be in par or slightly lower than the NEX-5, so the 720p container should work well with the 650 lw/ph resolution / sharpness.

Think the NEX-5 should be much better than the HX5 because of the bigger sensor?
Well the Pure Digital Flip SlideHD (720p) measured a horizontal sharpness of 575 lw/ph, and the vertical sharpness with 575 lw/ph and the Kodak Zi8 (1080/30p)measured horizontal sharpness of 600 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 500 lw/ph the same as the, half the resolution, Kodak Zx1.

Now what would be the difference to the top consumer camcorder?
The Panasonic HDC-TM700 did spectacularly well in our video sharpness test. The camcorder measured a horizontal sharpness of 1000 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 900 lw/ph. The impressive vertical sharpness is what stands out here, as no other consumer camcorder we've tested has been able to crack the 600 – 700 lw/ph barrier. What we found on the HDC-TM700, however, is that the camcorder's 1080/60p setting was able to produce a sharper image in our vertical testing.

So for my eyes I think the 720 p MP4 mode with the AVCHD codec in the MPEG-4 container makes the most sense in day to day video shooting.
The files are small enough to capture lots of video, the amount of captured detail is nearly as good at it gets and it can be played back on nearly everything without problem and if you want to edit they are easy too.
Just for re-compression HandBrake takes both formats without any problem.

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